The Houston Texans beat the San Francisco 49ers 16-13 last Saturday night at NRG Stadium. It was the second preseason game for both teams and to real football fans, its only significance came in the three drives in the first quarter by two of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Deshaun Watson played only on the Texans’ first drive, but he led the Texans on an 11-play, 79-yard drive to the end zone. Watson completed five of eight passes for 73 yards for a quarterback rating of 131.8. The key play was a 37-yard pass to Bruce Ellington.
“Deshaun (Watson) hit me on a slant. He hit me on the run, so the rest was me just going out there and just doing what I do. A couple of plays later, he hit me in the end zone,” Ellington said.
Watson also had a 22-yard pass to Ryan Griffin. The touchdown came on a fourth down and goal from the one-yard line, where Watson found Ellington in the end zone.
“Yeah, we wanted to start fast. I thought he (Watson) did a nice job of that. He went down the field. I guess he was 5-for-8, but I think he had three drops on the drive. So, I thought he did some nice things,” Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien said. “We were able to play at a pretty good tempo and get in the end zone. So, that was good.”
The 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, the long-time backup to Tom Brady in New England, had two drives in the first quarter. The first drive ended with a Garoppolo two-yard pass to Trent Taylor for a touchdown.
“They played man. They had good coverage down there. Trent (Taylor) was later in my progression and everything, so he had a little longer to get open. He kept running across the back of the end zone. I am assuming he ran a great route off the bat, I didn’t really see it. He does a great job down there getting open,” Garoppolo said. “Every day Trent seems to get more and more comfortable for sure. There’s little things here and there that you can still see are not 100 percent with him, but those will only get better as time goes.”
Garoppolo’s last drive ended when the Texans’ Johnson Bademosi intercepted the ball on the Houston 17-yard line. In those two drives, Garoppolo completed 10 of 12 passes for 136-yards for a quarterback rating of 106.9.
For those fans that stayed for the entire game, they saw the Texans win the game on a 41-yard pass from Joe Webb III to Vyncint Smith for a touchdown with 34 seconds to go in the game to give the Texans a 16-13 lead and the game.
“I just read the defense and ran down the middle of the field and read which way I should go. I kept my eyes on Joe (Webb III) and he stepped up and made a good throw,” Smith said. “It was very special to get my first touchdown, second catch and it’s the biggest play of my NFL career, so far. I’m enjoying it either way.”
For the game, San Francisco had 305 passing yards to 250 for the Texans, and the 49ers outrushed the Texans 83 to 72. The 49ers also had five turnovers, while the Texans had two turnovers. For the most part, O’Brien was pleased with the team’s performance at home, particularly Watson’s.
“We talked a lot about playing at home. With this being our first home game and wanting to go out and play well in front of the Houston fans, it was good to get off to a good start and it was good to finish the game like that. I thought Joe (Webb III) did a nice job on that last drive,” O’Brien said.
The Texans are now 2-0 in the preseason. This Saturday they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams at 3 p.m.